Social Question

Taciturnu's avatar

Would you like to help pay for gender reassignment surgery for an inmate who murdered his wife?

Asked by Taciturnu (6037points) September 18th, 2012

I’m going to be. This man was awarded gender reassignment surgery, to be paid for by Massachusetts tax payers. I’m typically very sensitive to gender identity issues, but it seems this guy who killed his wife is seeking a sex change operation to get out of PC in the men’s facility and into GP in a women’s facility.

Am I being insensitive to think he should come up with the financial backing on his own?

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46 Answers

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I’ll do the initial surgery with a dull knife. He killed his wife.

DrBill's avatar

Anyone, criminal or not can pay for their own surgery

wundayatta's avatar

@Taciturnu If you’re interested in other jellie’s thoughts on the subject, check out this question.

Taciturnu's avatar

@wundayatta My apologies. :) I actually have been kinda surprised by the news lately. We pay for gender reassignment surgery, but an autistic kid in NJ wasn’t served lunch because his parents were $2 short on the quarterly lunch bill. Like, really?

wundayatta's avatar

No problem. It happens. And I write questions in a way that’s hard to search for.

The news is surprising and it is interesting to me how most people think that once you are a ward of the state, you don’t really deserve to have proper medical care. Even if it is life threatening. Even trans-sexuals think the guy has no right to have the surgery paid for.

So what I wonder is what happens if the guy commits suicide because he can’t stand not being who he or she it? Do people feel that’s just the risk you take for being a sick criminal?

Aethelflaed's avatar

I’m not in MA, but I’d be fine with it. My taxes go to all kinds of things I’m opposed to, like killing innocent civilians the world over, because that’s how taxes and society work. It’s not something personal against me. And really, if this helps this woman be less murder-y in the future, that seems like a win for everyone.

BTW – if you really want to be sensitive to gender identity issues, don’t call people who are really women men.

Taciturnu's avatar

He actually has already had a suicide attempt. My understanding is that he’s demanding bras and feminine hair products. (A bra? OK, maybe, but he IS in PC. Hair products? Get over it!) From everything I’ve heard all around, I really think it’s a ploy to be moved to a women’s prison. I don’t think he’s aware that women’s prisons are worse… I know a male guard who said he’s much happier with men. Realistically, if I want to be a man, I can’t afford it. Should MA pay for anyone? Or can he start packaging plastic cutlery and get paid a few bucks to pay for his own surgery?

I know someone who lost a job with the state because someone else bid lower… Maybe we should do that in this situation. lol

Aethelflaed's avatar

In what freaking universe are you trans-friendly? It’s a ploy to get into a woman’s prison? Seriously??

woodcutter's avatar

If he wants to be a woman then why would he /she want to sent to a womans facility? I’d think the guy would feel right at home with all that beefcake in the joint.

Aethelflaed's avatar

@woodcutter You might be confusing “women” with “hetero women”.

Taciturnu's avatar

In the universe that I have a couple transgender friends, and my brother started the process though ultimately changed his mind. @Aethelflaed He killed someone. I don’t really want to pay for anything more than will sustain his life. Food, water, shelter, medical bills required only as life preserving or saving measures. Plenty of people commit suicide in prison, it’s a reality. If he commits suicide… the world isn’t any more worse off than if a male inmate who felt he was a man committed suicide.

Taciturnu's avatar

Furthermore, from what I heard today there was never any talk of gender reassignment before he started time in prison.

woodcutter's avatar

@Aethelflaed I thought that most men were lesbians?

wundayatta's avatar

It is the job of the Commonwealth to pay for the appropriate medical care for it’s inmates. Period. If this is appropriate care, they need to pay for it.

If he were free, he’d have to pay for it himself. Just like the rest of us. But when we are wards of the state, the state is responsible for making sure we get the right medical care.

People think sex reassignment surgery is voluntary. Maybe it is. But the Federal judge has decided it is medically necessary, and thus the state has to pay for it, no matter what anyone thinks.

If we want it to be the policy of the state that we drive inmates to suicide, so be it. Except that would be unconstitutional. So I’m afraid that people who don’t approve of this treatment because they think it is elective, are engaging in fantasies of cruel and unconstitutional treatment. Like it or not, the Commonwealth has to pay. And you should want it to be paid for, because otherwise you open the door for prisons to refuse any treatment they might want to refuse. Then if you should ever be in prison, even by accident, woe to you if you need to get your meds. You won’t have them. Then, if you’re mentally ill, there’s a good chance you’ll kill yourself. Good? One-fifth chance.

Taciturnu's avatar

I do understand it will be paid for by the state one way or the other.

I guess this is where my capital punishment ideas come in. I believe that convicted murderers should be eligible to receive capital punishment, even here in Massachusetts, even at risk that I may one day be wrongfully in that place. People commit suicide in prison for tons of reasons. They lose their families, can’t take getting beat up, whatever. If a non-convicted person has to pay out of pocket, I don’t think a convicted killer should have it paid for them. It’s so BACKWARDS to me. life preserving or saving interventions is pretty well outlined.

fundevogel's avatar

I’m with @wundayatta you can’t withhold health services from inmates, especially when it pertains to their mental health. Call me a lib, but to do so would not just be a failure of the state to see to its wards, it would be cruel and unusual punishment.

Maybe people would feel less willing to turn the screw on inmates’ healthcare if no American had to forgo the medical care they needed because it was out of reach for them. There may be an element of, “if my medical needs aren’t provided for why should criminals’ be?” The fact of the matter is I don’t think anyone should be denied healthcare, regardless of their economic status, liberty or anything else. That prisoners sometimes get healthcare when others cannot doesn’t mean the prisoners are getting mollycoddled by the state, it just highlights how America has not yet succeeded in meeting the medical needs of its people.

Response moderated (Obscene)
Blackberry's avatar

@johnpowell Lol.

The price out of your pocket would be like….a penny? In the perfect situation, of course you wouldn’t pay, but you’re paying for all kinds of stuff you don’t agree with, already.

_Whitetigress's avatar

“Am I being insensitive to think he should come up with the financial backing on his own?”

Maybe not insensitive but personal. I believe if you feel passionate enough about the subject. Go to the courts, stand on the side walk with a huge sign that sums up, “Fuck this shit not my tax money for a jailbird murderers sex change.” Something like that.

Cruel and unusual punishment here for not allowing the sex change? I think not. Isn’t this person serving their punishment for literally taking someones life away? So the punishment is already there, and when someone kills someone, and goes to jail for it, I believe they throw away all their basic rights and freedoms. The only time I sympathize with a killer, is when they admit they were wrong and when does that happen.

The world is crazy.

ragingloli's avatar

Sure, why not.

cazzie's avatar

I am a pretty liberal person. You all have probably read me here, but THIS story really pissed me off. I listened to this on NPR the other day and they brought up another point. Where the hell do you house someone like this after/during their tranistion time?

I don’t think he is entitled to the full ‘Swedish Treatment’. I think he, his doctor and the prison authority have to come to some sort of comprimise about what he will be able to live with as a compromise. Apparently, he has already tried to kill himself once or twice. Bad luck.

tom_g's avatar

@Taciturnu: “We pay for gender reassignment surgery, but an autistic kid in NJ wasn’t served lunch because his parents were $2 short on the quarterly lunch bill. Like, really?”

Are you saying that you would be ok with the state paying for reassignment surgery if autistic kids in NJ were not denied lunch when their parents hadn’t paid up? If the answer is “no”, then you can skip statements like this. It’s dishonest. If the answer is “yes”, then what you probably disagreeing with is the distribution of public funds.

I suspect, however, that you would not be ok with the state paying for gender reassignment even if autistic kids in NJ (or all kids) were never denied lunch due to unpaid bills. Coming back to the issue, I’d be curious to hear where you draw the line concerning healthcare for inmates. Advil? Cavities and preventive dental care? Emotional counseling? Antidepressents? Once you find where this line is, it might be more clear what really is causing your discomfort with this whole issue.

wundayatta's avatar

The fact of the matter is that many inmates don’t get all kinds of necessary treatment. One area I am familiar with because I know a lot of mentally ill people who have been in prison is that they don’t get access to their meds. They also don’t get access to psychiatrists and when they do, they don’t get therapy or much else that the psychiatrist recommends.

It’s prison, people. It doesn’t happen. Inmates don’t get cancer treatments. They don’t get proper diabetes treatment. They don’t get broken bones treated on time. They die, all the time, from things that could have easily been treated, had they not been in prison.

It’s prison, so no one finds out because most prisoners don’t have a voice. They don’t have people advocating for them. This person with the sex change operation is the rare exception. I wish there were people advocating for all the other medical care that isn’t given.

So don’t worry. Most prisoners are getting shafted on medical care. People in Massachusetts might pay for this one operation, but for most prisoners, you are saving a ton of money and causing who knows how many early deaths due to reduced access to health care. And it’s not just your state. It’s every state. That’s what prison is.

This may get you all up in outrage, but I wouldn’t worry about it. Maybe this one prisoner will get something (although I doubt it). But the vast majority of prisoners are getting screwed big time. Much worse than their sentences call for. This is why we fight to stay out of prison and why having money pretty much guarantees you won’t go to prison unless you were really bad. Even then, you’ll probably get off.

Coloma's avatar

Oh the fuck you say!
NOW, I’ve really heard it all!
We take away peoples french fries but we pay for some insane freak to get a government funded sex change? There is no end to the insanity!

Coloma's avatar

Disclaimer: I am NOT referring to transgender people as freaks, I am referring this ONE freak, who is a freak becuase they actually have the nerve to commit a murder then attempt to save their balls, sarcasm intended, by manipulating the sytem.

tom_g's avatar

@Coloma: “We take away peoples french fries but we pay for some insane freak to get a government funded sex change? There is no end to the insanity!”

If we didn’t take away peoples french fries (?), would you support this?
Do you support other health services for inmates? If so, what determines appropriate health services?

tom_g's avatar

@Coloma – re: “manipulating the system”….
What exactly is it that she’s doing that is manipulating the system? Do you feel this will set some precedent? Will people who want this type of surgery but can’t afford it run out and commit a crime so that it will be covered?

Coloma's avatar

@tom_g No, I wouldn’t.
Yes, I do see it as manipulation. Someone commits a heinous crime and then attempts to have themselves exonerated from doing the hard time in a hardcore facility by having sex reassignment surgery for the sole purpose of getting cushier and less volatile living conditions.
I am a humane person and yes I support medical care for criminals, but, really, get fucking REAL! Some of the most horrible criminals are having all their needs met by government but we’re blacklisting model citizens because they want a bag of super size fries.
If that’s not insane I don’t know what is.

I wouldn’t be surprised if some people would commit a crime to get their transgender surgeries for “free” within the system if this goes down.

tom_g's avatar

I don’t know, @Coloma. I think the whole concept of criminal justice is tough because it does elicit a ton of strong emotions. Also, many of us aren’t even on the same page regarding the role of the criminal justice system (punish or rehabilitate). These aren’t easy questions, and I don’t mean to derail this.

But right now, there is a guy who has raped, tortured, and killed someone, and now he’s sitting in jail eating a sandwich. We’re paying for the roof over his head, his food, etc. I can’t stand this, yet I don’t know of a solution that would make me feel better. Would killing him do it? Nope. A) I don’t want to risk one innocent person being put to death, B) I’m an atheist, and death just seems too easy. It’s a “get out of jail free” card, C) I don’t want to give the state that power, and D) It wouldn’t serve as any real justice in my opinion.

But where does that leave me? I could torture him? Nope. A) Again, we have to deal with the possibility of innocence, B) I don’t want to give the state that power, and C) It wouldn’t serve as any real justice in my opinion.

So, I’m left with a desire to keep them out of the general population. This serves to protect us and leaves open the possibility that new evidence arises that will exonerate someone.

Now, if I am excluding people from the general population, I’m also having to care for these people. I have already excluded torture – you may not. I’m not going to assume. It could be argued that withholding health care – physical or emotional – is a form of inhumane or tortuous behavior. If someone has a tremendously-painful physical ailment and we withhold care, I can’t see any way around the fact that this is state-sponsored torture. What about emotional anguish? Mental illness? Depression, etc. This is why I asked where you draw the line. As absurd as it may seem to you and me, is it possible that there is emotional torture with seeing yourself as the opposite gender? This procedure, in my opinion, seems to fit into emotional and physical healthcare.

@Coloma: “Some of the most horrible criminals are having all their needs met by government but we’re blacklisting model citizens because they want a bag of super size fries.”

You already stated that the fries thing is irrelevant to this discussion (@Coloma: “No, I wouldn’t.”), so I’m stumped why you would mention it again.

Regarding this setting a precedent (@Coloma: “I wouldn’t be surprised if some people would commit a crime to get their transgender surgeries for “free” within the system if this goes down.”), I find this scenario completely absurd. And if there is something to it, it says nothing about providing this care to inmates – it speaks to a need for a comprehensive universal healthcare system in this country.

wundayatta's avatar

The scenario is completely absurd. Come on, @Coloma. Put yourself in someone else’s shoes. Could you, or anyone possibly be thinking in the middle of committing a murder, ‘oh good, this is how I get my sex change operation?’ Did you already eat a happy brownie this morning? This is not the way you usually think.

Coloma's avatar

@tom_g I mentioned it as a it IS a most insane paradox.

@Wundayatta Well, it is POSSIBLE, and no, I am not under the influence of the herb.
As far as some criminals using the system for sex reassignment options, well, maybe not highly likely, but certainly possible, if one is nutty enough.
The truth is stranger than fiction.

Taciturnu's avatar

Side note that other inmates are already coming forward to request a gender reassignment surgery, according to news radio yesterday.

wundayatta's avatar

What news radio is that, @Taciturnu? Source please.

If the story is true, I wonder if it is people who have been hiding their desire for sex changes, or people who think this is a scam. If they do think it is a scam, I wonder what they will do when the day comes to go under the scalpel. But I bet it will be easy to separate the scam artists from the serious folks.

Coloma's avatar

@Taciturnu There ya go….one nut shakes the tree and all the other nuts drop like acorns in a storm. lol

Taciturnu's avatar

It was a local news radio station, I’m not sure which. I personally despise news radio… But I was around when it came on. Will try to look for a reputable source.

woodcutter's avatar

With the way the health care system is in the US, the asshole may die on the operating slab because of malpractice or there is that chance he gets a gigantic staph infection from it.


wundayatta's avatar

A very primitive notion of justice, alas.

ragingloli's avatar

vengeance masquerading as justice

woodcutter's avatar

taxpayer funded

rooeytoo's avatar

I just wonder why some of you immediately assume the person requesting the surgery is being honest and forthright about this decision? Is there not even a remote possibility that his motives are less than honorable? Are you willing to give the benefit of the doubt to all people in all situations or just criminals? Let’s face it, this is not a nice person or he probably wouldn’t be in prison in the first place, is it not possible he is lying?

augustlan's avatar

Sure, it’s possible. But how many men would be willing to get their penises chopped off to manipulate the system? Not many, I’d bet.

tom_g's avatar

@augustlan – It’s simple. Men are going to line up for this. All they have to do is go through a few suicide attempts, go through tons of therapy and convince a mental health professional that they qualify for a GID diagnosis in DSM or ICD. Then, it’s a piece of cake. Now they just need to go through surgery to remove their penis and replace it with a vagina. Most men would do this if the surgery was paid for by taxpayers, so this court ruling opens the door for widespread abuse. My gut is telling me this will cost every taxpayer about $2000 per year, and will result in empty male prisons. We will have awful criminals living the good life in those cushy female prisons, where they just sit around having pillow fights and watching the soaps.

Note: I would have added a sarcasm tag, but I can’t tell what’s even going on here anymore. I would love to slap a sarcasm tag on many of the comments in this thread, although I am starting to believe there is no sarcasm intended with many of them. yikes.

rooeytoo's avatar

I didn’t realize that getting your dick chopped off was step one. I thought there was a lengthy series of therapy sessions, hormone treatments, etc. And all that after the legality of who pays has been decided. He might be able to hang onto it for quite some time and be manipulating the system the whole while only to change his mind at the last minute and latch onto another ploy to garner attention and special treatment.

I don’t know this to be true or untrue but then again no one knows what is in the man’s head (the one on his shoulders that is not in danger of being chopped off).

So I still wonder, why do so many immediately assume he has honorable intentions and no ulterior motives? At best, I could be a fence sitter and adopt a wait and see attitude. I would have to ask the question, why did he not pursue this goal before he murdered someone and went to prison, had he ever expressed these desires prior to landing in jail???

And my attitude has nothing with moral or equal treatment of gay, lesbian, trans, whatever, it has to do with what debt society has to criminals.

Mariah's avatar

Wow, even though I can understand why this is controversial, I can’t believe so many are assuming she is not sincerely transgender, and is just doing this to get into the women’s prison. What on earth is so implausible about a transgendered prisoner?

I do think it’s wrong for a prisoner to receive more healthcare benefits than an innocent person, but then my view is that everyone should getting help paying their medical bills. There have been cases of people committing crimes to get into jail for the free healthcare, and obviously that is an indication that our system is completely broken.

woodcutter's avatar

If there was single payer health coverage for all then it wouldn’t be as much an issue. Plenty of people here who need life saving procedures and can’t get them because they don’t have a way to pay. I’m referring to those people who have not killed anyone.

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